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AMD Ryzen 5 3400G Review: First-Gen Zen Gets Refreshed

Zen and Vega go for round two.

AMD Ryzen 5 3400G
(Image: © AMD)

Like the previous-gen model, the Ryzen 5 3400G delivers on its promise of bringing passable 1080p framerates to the most budget of gaming rigs, albeit at the cost of lowered quality settings and a narrower cross-section of games. Performance is even better if you step back to 1280x720. 

The Ryzen 5 3400G's solder TIM paired with the more efficient 12nm process opens up more overclocking headroom, and the beefier 95W Wraith Spire cooler gives you plenty of room for overclocking. Overall the chip was an easy overclocker, especially if you go the auto-overclocking route. You'll get solid results if you invest some time in overclocking the graphics and memory, particularly for iGPU gaming (albeit with a more expensive memory kit).

For enthusiasts after the best low-resolution gaming solution at the lowest possible cost, the Ryzen series of APUs remain the uncontested leaders, but they do have a narrow appeal.

If gaming isn't a focus, the Core i3-9100 is faster than the 3400G in a broad spate of everyday applications, but at a lower price point. However, its integrated graphics are woefully inadequate for gaming, and the $122 price point doesn't leave as much room in the budget for a decent graphics card. Intel's next step up the ladder, the Core i3-9350K, isn't a good value even in its higher price bracket, so it's largely irrelevant in the 3400G's price range. Lower-end Pentium models remain either scarce or price-gouged in the face of Intel's ongoing shortage, so they aren't a viable alternative, either.

Instead, the 3400G's biggest competition lies within AMD's own lineup of previous-gen chips. If productivity is a focus, you can pick up the Ryzen 5 1600 at incredibly low pricing. As of the time of writing, you can find a six-core 12-thread Ryzen 5 1600 for under $100, which grants plenty of extra performance in threaded workloads and leaves room in your budget for a low-cost discrete graphics card. You'll spend a bit more money overall, but come out far ahead on performance. Likewise, you could opt for even cheaper previous-gen models, like the Ryzen 3 1200, for as little as $65. That leaves even more room for a discrete graphics card, particularly if you shop around for a second-hand GPU. 

The Ryzen 5 3400G is still an iterative update, so the Ryzen 5 2400G offers most of its performance, but has sold at sub-$100 pricing in the past. Unfortunately, that chip is currently either out of stock or selling at inflated pricing, and there's no guarantee that it will come back into stock.

That leaves the 3400G as the best option if you're interested in the highest-powered integrated graphics for small compact builds, HTPCs, and the most budget of gaming rigs, but keep your eye out for sales – you could cobble together a more powerful system based on an older Ryzen chip. 

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  • yeti_yeti
    i3-9350K on top in pretty much all of the gaming tests with a discrete gpu? From what I have seen, it is considered a terrible purchase at its MSRP. Didn't expect to see it perform this well in this review.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    yeti_yeti said:
    i3-9350K on top in pretty much all of the gaming tests with a discrete gpu? From what I have seen, it is considered a terrible purchase at its MSRP. Didn't expect to see it perform this well in this review.
    Yeah these are only a decent buy if you're looking for something with a strong iGPU. Even then, these are stopgaps until the Zen 2 powered APUs hit - although that might be a while, since they're wisely targeting mobile first. They've also been around for a while now, so it's not like a hot new release.
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    alextheblue said:
    Yeah these are only a decent buy if you're looking for something with a strong iGPU. Even then, these are stopgaps until the Zen 2 powered APUs hit - although that might be a while, since they're wisely targeting mobile first. They've also been around for a while now, so it's not like a hot new release.

    Which is exactly what makes it surprising that we're seeing a review of it at this late date. But I guess ANY review of actual hardware is a good thing. Better than another "this is on sale" or "check out these deals" piece of clutter.
    Reply
  • domih
    I happen to have i5 9600K, R5 3400g, R3 3200g as generic Linux servers.

    Using InfiniBand FDR (56Gbps) translating into theoretical max ~48Gbe for IPoIB (Internet over InfiniBand) I get the following the iperf3 results:

    44.5 Gbits/sec for the i5 9600K ($243 on NewEgg) on ASRock Z390M-ITX-ac, 32GB mem @ 3200.
    46.1 Gbits/sec for the R3 3200g ($95 on NewEgg) on ASRock B450M Pro4, 32GB mem @ 3200.
    46.5 Gbits/sec for the R5 3400g ($150 on NewEgg) on ASRock B450M Pro4, 32GB mem @ 3200.
    Kind of statistically similar with a 4% advantage to the R5 3400g over the i5 9600K.
    So while the i5 9600K has 6C/6T, the R5 3400g with 4C/8T can rival the i5 9600K in specific tasks.

    Network cards: Mellanox ConnectX-3 VPI MCX354A-FCBT (about $50 on eBay)
    Switch: Mellanox InfiniBand SX6790 (about $200 on eBay)
    Cables: Mellanox QSFP+ DAC or AOC (for about $25 to $90 unit depending on type or length on eBay)

    CONCLUSION: If you want a fast 40Gbe NAS (SMB IPoIB, NFS IPoIB or RDMA) you must go with recent hardware BUT you do not need to spend thousands of $$$.

    OTHER CONCLUSION: I can hardly wait for the R5 4400g.
    Reply
  • linuxdude
    I don't get it - the 3400G has been released to market over a year ago - why review it now?
    Reply
  • Nick_C
    linuxdude said:
    I don't get it - the 3400G has been released to market over a year ago - why review it now?
    Planting a "refreshed AMD APUs aren't that much better than the older version" message in the readers' consciousness might me seen as an attempt to detract a little from the upcoming release of the 4000 series APUs - which are expected to be rather good....
    Reply
  • piquard4567
    is it true that due to the quirks of on chip memory bandwith, an overclocked R3 3200G pretty much matches an overclocked R5 3400G in integrated gaming performance? is that why AMD WON'T LET BIG REVIEWERS PIT OVERCLOCKED R3 APUs AGAINST R5 APUs?

    please, for us budget gamers out here, will you PLEASE TEST AN OVERCLOCKED RYZEN 3 APU!!!!
    Reply
  • piquard4567
    WHAT'S GOING ON WITH TOM'S HARDWARE'S REVIEWS?

    The whole freaking point of these APUs in this class of processors is all about gaming on the built in graphics, without having to buy an additional graphics card. So, what does Tom's do?

    This is what they do: they only give us just a few games on the iGPU. And then proceed to bore us to tears with a ton of predictable ray tracing and compression and encoding benchmarks. What, a 6c/12t will smoke a 4c/4t in Handbrake?!?! COLOR ME SHOCKED :eek:

    at LEAST run the same tests on the iGPU as you did on discrete cards.
    Reply
  • piquard4567
    please fix your POV-RAY Single Core charts already!

    you are using different versions of POV-RAY without noting it, which is a no-no in benchmarking
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Darkbreeze said:
    Which is exactly what makes it surprising that we're seeing a review of it at this late date.
    Exactly. Seeing this review, with no apparent acknowledgement of its lateness, sent my head spinning.

    As I thought, it seems the Ryzen 5 3400 G has been available since July, 2019. Retail boxed, no less.

    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/XP6qqs/amd-ryzen-5-3400g-37-ghz-quad-core-processor-yd3400c5fhbox?history_days=365
    Reply